ASSEN, Netherlands — Marc Marquez won a duel with Andrea Dovizioso to take Saturday's grand prix in Assen, making it eight straight victories as he defends his MotoGP title.
Marquez, just 21, is the first rider to win the first eight races of the year since Giacomo Agostini did it in 1971.
As he crossed the finish line he lay flat on his bike and made swimming motions with both arms and legs, to the delight of the crowd.
With the track drying after several showers, tire choices were a crucial factor. Marquez began with intermediates but both he and Dovizioso switched to a dry kit early on. The colorful Marquez hopped from one bike to the other like a cricket during the unusual pit stop.
"I was very nervous before" the race," Marquez said. "The conditions are what no one wanted, very dangerous." He said the tire choice was "the key decision."
"It was hard going from wet to dry. But I felt better with each lap."
Aleix Espargaro had won his first ever pole position but finished fourth.
Dovizioso took the lead after a Marquez steering mistake took him off the track. But Marquez kept his Honda upright and continued the race — and he had better speed. He tucked inside Dovizioso neatly on a curve to take the lead with 11 laps to go.
Dovizioso eventually finished 6.74 seconds behind. Marquez's Repsol Honda teammate Dani Pedrosa was third.
He said he was satisfied finishing second. "I knew his pace was quicker so I stayed with him as long as I could," he said.
Valentino Rossi, who won last year, made a last minute decision to switch from slicks to wets at the start, and was forced to start from the pit lane. He made up a lot of ground but finished fifth.
Marquez leads with 200 points in the overall standings, while Rossi and Pedrosa both have 128. Doviziozo is fourth with 91, Jorge Lorenzo fifth with 81 and Espargaro sixth with 67.
In Moto 2, wet-weather specialist Anthony West of QMMF Racing Team won, beating Maverick Vinales of Pons HP 40 and Mika Kallio of Marc VDS Racing Team.
In Moto 3, another Marquez won: Alex Marquez of Estrella Galicia took his second in a row, beating teammate Alex Rins in second and Miguel Oliveira in third. Red Bull's Jack Miller and Sky Racing Team VR46's Romano Fenati crashed.